My mother, Rebecca Sawtell, who has died aged 57 of toxic epidermal necrolysis, devoted her working life as a clinical psychologist to helping children who had been abused and had nowhere else to turn. Exceptionally empathetic, she seemed to possess a superhuman level of emotional intelligence, which was often shown in the way children would open up to her about their ordeals when no one else had succeeded in persuading them to talk.
She was born in Sheffield, the third of four children of Roger Sawtell, a mechanical engineer and later company administrator, and his wife, Susan (nee Flint), an occupational therapist. Shortly after Rebecca began her primary education, the family moved to Northampton and while at Northampton School for Girls and then Weston Favell Upper school, she developed an interest in the burgeoning field of psychology. She studied for a degree in the subject at Brunel University, in Uxbridge, where she met Denis Salter, and after a number of years of living together they married in 1995.
After Brunel, Rebecca completed her clinical psychology training with the Oxford Regional Health Authority, and then she and Denis moved to Dumfries in Scotland to work in the town’s Crichton Royal hospital. Just before my birth they relocated to Leicester, where Rebecca established herself as a child psychologist, first within the NHS and then working on behalf of local authorities in matters relating to the care of vulnerable children. She loved her work and was tireless in ensuring that each child was heard and in receipt of the correct decision for them.
She is survived by Denis, their two children, Eleanor and me, her parents and her siblings, Ruth, Mary and Peter.